The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo may not have been the most well written book I've read in 2015, but its one that I really enjoyed.
Mattie is the kind of girl that when given two choices will always make the wrong one. She is smart and mostly likable but has a lot of baggage in her life that she just can't seem to lose. She never knew her father and her mother drowned her own disappointments in alcohol before she died.
The story opens with a pregnant Mattie breaking up with her loser boyfriend and packing all of her belongings (six garbage bags full) into her beat-up car and heading out to her mother's home town in Oklahoma. She has just found out that her grandmother has left her an inheritance so she is hoping this will be the answer to a new start for her. Upon arriving in Gandy, OK, Mattie discovers that she will not be inheriting as much as she had hoped for. Like a true survivor she manages to lie and manipulate the people of the town who knew her mother and grandmother into helping her, or at least tolerating her.
Mattie soon discovers that her mother was much more than the person she became. There is a mystery in town about why this golden girl suddenly packed up and left town over 30 years ago. The deeper Mattie digs, the less clear things become. Along the way you meet an interesting cast of characters who all have problems of their own and know more than they are willing to share.
There are some very poignant moments in this book and some laugh out loud moments too. Mattie is very self-deprecating and funny and very aware of her lack of good judgement. With every failure to do the right thing comes another promise to herself that she's going to get her life figured out. I found myself caring about and cheering on this messed up young woman, waiting for her to ultimately grow up.